Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe won't play in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe won't play in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns. (Al Drago, Baltimore Sun)

Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe endured one of his most frustrating seasons last year as he struggled to stay healthy.

But Monroe was smiling as he walked off the practice field Tuesday following the first day of the Ravens' mandatory minicamp.

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"It's a new year and I'm healthy, I feel great," Monroe said. "This is probably the best I've felt. I'm looking forward to being positive even if situations come up like they did this past season. I've been through it and I know how to stay positive and keep pressing on."

Monroe's resolve was tested last season. He was limited to just 11 starts after suffering a torn meniscus in September that required arthroscopic knee surgery. After missing four games while recovering from the knee injury, Monroe sprained his ankle against the Houston Texans in December and was replaced by rookie James Hurst in the postseason.

Monroe was particularly annoyed because he had never been to the playoffs in his NFL career. He was limited to special teams in the Ravens' AFC divisional round playoff game loss to the New England Patriots.

"I had the knee and that shut me down, then I fought to come back and I went down again at the end of the year," Monroe said. "It was the first time I had been on a playoff team and it kind of [stunk] that I wasn't able to participate. I've been injured before, but to miss time and get to the playoffs and be hurt, it was tough. I'm in a great place mentally now."

When Monroe was on the field last season, he allowed three sacks and 14 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.

Teammates noticed a difference in Monroe as he lined up with the starting offensive line Tuesday.

"He looks like he's in good shape," offensive guard Marshal Yanda said. "He's a hard worker. I think Eugene is hopefully going to stay healthy and have a good year.

"He just needs to stay healthy and not have those bumps and bruises and get in a groove and stay in a groove. We know he can do that because he definitely takes it seriously and he's a pro. We're counting on him to have a great year."

Heading into the second year of a five-year, $37.5 million contract that included $17.5 million guaranteed, Monroe says he doesn't feel like he has something to prove.

"I don't put that kind of pressure on myself," Monroe said. "I give it my all every day."

Listed at 6 feet 5, 300 pounds, Monroe appears bigger in his upper body and lighter overall.

"I have a little less body fat," he said. "I feel more lean. I've been working on it."

Meanwhile, Monroe's wife, Nureya, released an R&B and soul music album Tuesday.

"She's been working hard at it," Monroe said. "It's something she's wanted to do for a long time."

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